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Ethics, hospitality and aesthetics in Fresa y chocolate/Strawberry and Chocolate (Gutiérrez Alea and Tabío 1993) and Santa y Andrés/Santa and Andrés (Lechuga 2016)

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Dunja Fehimovic


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This article draws on Levinas’ ‘first ethics’ and Derrida’s account of hospitality in order to examine how Fresa y chocolate/Strawberry and Chocolate (Gutiérrez Alea and Tabío 1993) and Santa y Andrés/Santa and Andrés (Lechuga 2016) make perceptible (drawing on the etymology of aesthetics as ‘aistheta’, perceptible things) the problem of the encounter with the Other. As films, they inevitably thematize and reduce both the Other’s infinite alterity and our own infinite responsibility. However, whereas Santa y Andrés makes the viewer experience the uncertainty produced by the subject’s encounter with difference, developing an aesthetics that bears a trace of this ‘first ethics’, Fresa y chocolate reduces alterity in favour of resolution. Examining the characters’ interactions in light of Derrida’s ‘hostipitality’, it becomes clear that, whereas Alea’s work encourages us to forget the power imbalances that neuter Diego’s authority as host, Lechuga’s film gestures towards a pervasive sovereignty that determines the exercise of hospitality as ethical response. Thus, by acknowledging the uncomfortable proximity of hospitality, hostility and discipline, and by allowing the viewer to access a trace of the unsettling encounter with infinite otherness, Santa y Andrés encourages a more ethical engagement with difference than its predecessor

Publication metadata

Author(s): Fehimovic D

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Studies in Spanish and Latin American Cinemas

Year: 2020

Volume: 17

Issue: 3

Pages: 409-425

Print publication date: 01/03/2021

Online publication date: 12/02/2021

Acceptance date: 01/06/2020

ISSN (print): 2050-4837

ISSN (electronic): 2050-4845

Publisher: Intellect Ltd.


DOI: 10.1386/slac_00030_1


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